Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid or Limit When Living with Kidney Disease

Food forms the basis for the survival of all individuals. Apart from being the fuel that drives our bodies, the food we eat can also define the way we are, how our body operates, and what disorders or conditions develop or are likely to develop. Thus, it is safe to say that the food we eat defines how healthy or unhealthy we are. Foods can also help change the way we feel or improve the condition of the body in case of a disease or disorder. For instance, having food that is low in fat content and has less sugar helps improve blood sugar levels as well as keeps diabetes in check.

 

The same is the case for chronic kidney disease. Patients suffering from kidney disease can feel better, prevent further damage, and even ease some of the symptoms by consuming food that is kidney friendly.

 

Considering a meal plan and nutrients

For the well-being of the body in general and also in the case of kidney disease, it is important to have planned meals such that they have all the required nutrients, including:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Calorie content
  • Fats

The right kind of foods along with optimum portions are needed to ensure essential nutrients are being provided to the body and in correct quantities. Reading the food labels is necessary too, to learn the “nutrition facts” in order to understand about ingredients and quantity in the food, even the sodium content.

 

The labels provide information regarding key products such as:

  • Proteins

Proteins are termed the “building blocks” of the body as they are required to remain healthy, to grow, and to heal.

However, those with kidney disease must consume proteins in moderation as a high protein diet exerts greater pressure on the kidneys thereby damaging them further.

Low protein foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread

While high protein foods are:

  • Poultry
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish

 

  • Carbohydrates

This is an essential ingredient for the body that provides energy. However, certain carbohydrate sources might be high in phosphorus and potassium content, which is not recommended for kidney disease patients.

Potassium in too high or too low quantities is harmful for the kidneys, and can cause muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and problems with your heartbeat.

Thus, foods low in potassium that are recommended include:

  • Cranberries, strawberries, grapes, apples, and pineapple
  • White bread, tortillas, and pita
  • White rice, chicken, beef
  • Peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes, onions, and summer squash

Foods high in potassium to avoid are melons, bananas, oranges, prunes, avocado, raisins, spinach, artichokes, potatoes, plantains, tomatoes, brown rice, beans, granola, and bran products.

 

Phosphorus is another ingredient that though required by the body can accumulate in the blood and cause weak bones in kidney patients.

Foods to eat include:

  • Rice cereals, corn, and cream of wheat
  • Sourdough, Italian, and French bread
  • Lemonade or light-colored soda
  • Popcorn (unsalted)

Foods to avoid include oatmeal, bran cereals, sunflower seeds, nuts, whole grain bread, and dark-colored sodas.

 

  • Water

For kidney disease patients, too much water can take a toll on the kidneys as they cannot remove extra fluids efficiently. Thus, foods rich in water content must be avoided. Also, sodium must be cut down to reduce thirst and water must be taken in sips.

 

  • Vitamins

Vitamins, such as iron, folic acid, and vitamin D, need to be supplemented via pills to help combat anemia and related weaknesses due to kidney disease. These must be consumed in consultation with doctors as too much of certain vitamins can have ill effects too.

 

The above stated are a few diet suggestions to be followed by kidney disease sufferers.